Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon

Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon

by Nigel Smith


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The seventeenth-century poet Andrew Marvell (1621–1678) is one of the most intriguing figures in English literature. A noted civil servant under Cromwell’s Protectorate, he has been variously identified as a patriot, spy, conspirator, concealed homosexual, father to the liberal tradition, and incendiary satirical pamphleteer and freethinker. But while Marvell’s poetry and prose has attracted a wide modern following, his prose is known only to specialists, and much of his personal life remains shrouded in mystery.

Nigel Smith’s pivotal biography provides an unparalleled look into Marvell’s life, from his early employment as a tutor and gentleman’s companion to his suspicious death, reputedly a politically fueled poisoning. Drawing on exhaustive archival research, the voluminous corpus of Marvell’s previously little known writing, and recent scholarship across several disciplines, Smith’s portrait becomes the definitive account of this elusive life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300181968
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Nigel Smith is professor of English and codirector of the Center for the Study of Books and Media at Princeton University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Problem of Andrew Marvell 1

Chapter 2 Roots 12

Chapter 3 A Decade of Crises 37

Chapter 4 Poetry and Revolution 64

Chapter 5 The Tutor 102

Chapter 6 Civil Service 136

Chapter 7 Cavalier Revenge 166

Chapter 8 The Painter and the Poet Dare 187

Chapter 9 Cabal Days 212

Chapter 10 Indulgence and Rehearsal 246

Chapter 11 Brute Divines 279

Chapter 12 Arbitrary Power 314

Chapter 13 Afterlife and Revelation 334

List of Abbreviations 344

Notes 346

Index 379

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